Serie A: Atalanta bought by the owners of … Boston Celtics

Atalanta Bergamo announced on Saturday that the majority of the club’s capital was in the hands of a group of investors led by the American Stephen Pagliuca, co-owner of the Boston Celtics NBA team and co-chairman of the fund. American Bain Capital.

The Percassi family, current owner of the Italian football club, will keep 45% of the shares and Antonio Percassi and Luca Percassi will keep their functions as president and managing director, said the “Dea” in a press release.

“The Percassi family will remain the main individual shareholder”, according to this press release.

Stephen Pagliuca, at the head of the group of investors who will acquire 55% of the club, will become co-president.

This arrival is part of a fundamental movement of North American investment in Italian football, considered to be a lagging sector in terms of the level of TV rights and the operation of stadiums according to experts.

Nearly half of the twenty clubs in Serie A now fly the North American flag with, in addition to Atalanta, Roma (Dan Friedkin), AC Milan (Elliott funds), Fiorentina (Rocco Commisso), Venice (Duncan Niederauer), La Spezia (Piatek family) and Genoa, bought this fall by the 777 Partners fund.

Bologna belongs to the Canadian businessman Joey Saputo.

“Beyond European Borders”

At Atalanta, the amount of the investment made by the group led by Stephen Pagliuca has not been disclosed. But according to indiscretions of the Italian press, the operation is based on a valuation of the club up to 400 to 500 million euros.

Investors would be particularly attracted by the prospect of developing the stadium, Atalanta being one of the few clubs to own its enclosure.

“The group of new investors includes leading professionals with extensive experience in the football and sport sector in general,” says Atalanta.

“The commitment is to guarantee the club an even more international future, increasing the brand’s reputation beyond European borders”, while preserving “the strong roots in the Bergamo territory”, according to the press release.

“Atalanta and the Boston Celtics share the same sporting values: team spirit and a unique bond with its supporters,” said Stephen Pagliuca, quoted in the press release. He believes that “the Percassi family has built a solid foundation on which to work together” in particular to diversify sources of income.

Atalanta Bergamo, long considered a second-rate club with only an Italian Cup (1963) on the list, has grown a lot in recent years by specializing in particular in the development of young players and by regularly rising to the Top 4, which has allowed him to compete in the lucrative Champions League for the past three seasons.

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